Hanford Nuclear Reservation | KUOW News and Information

Hanford Nuclear Reservation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is one of the government watchdogs monitoring the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation. But recently the EPA’s Hanford office has shrunk in half.

Back in May, a train tunnel at the Hanford nuclear site partially collapsed. Federal contractors have now just finished filling it up with grout. It took about 520 truck loads of grout to fill the tunnel.

Crews had been doing the work mostly at night since early October.

At the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state, a powerful group of citizens who keep watch on the nuclear reservation hasn’t met in months. Northwest tribes, environmental watchdogs and nuclear cleanup experts all sit on the Hanford Advisory Board—nicknamed the HAB. 


This spring, an underground train tunnel full of radioactive waste was discovered partially collapsed at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state. Now, federal contractors are prepping the site to fill the unstable tunnel with grout. They’re planning to start Tuesday night.

Crews at the Hanford Site in southeast Washington state are running through rehearsals and last minute details. In early October, they’ll begin pouring grout, a kind of thin cement, into a partially collapsed tunnel full of highly contaminated radioactive waste.

Highway sign on a road entering the Hanford Site
Wikipedia Photo/Ellery (CC BY SA 3.0)/http://bit.ly/1LnhFqH

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Northwest News Network reporter Anna King about the continued problem of cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Eastern Washington. The topic was in the news because John Oliver talked about the contaminated site on his satirical HBO show. 

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Hanford site outside of Richland, Washington, Tuesday.

Back in June, there was an emergency at the Hanford nuclear site where workers were ordered to take cover. A sensor was detecting airborne radioactive particles.

Now KING-TV reports several workers have tested positive for those particles inside their bodies.

Washington state officials have been waiting to see how the U.S. Department of Energy plans to deal with an unstable tunnel filled with radioactive waste at the Hanford nuclear site.

In the wake of a tunnel collapse at the Hanford nuclear site in May, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to take public comments at a meeting in the Tri-Cities on July 20 on how it should proceed with the clean-up.

Bill Radke talks to Anna King, a journalist with the Northwest News Network, about her reporting on the Hanford tunnel collapse, including why it happened and what it means for other nuclear waste storage sites at Hanford. 

The estimated size of the Silver Dollar wildfire has grown in southeast Washington state Monday. More than 20,000 acres were burning near the Hanford nuclear site. The fire is 30 percent contained.






The Hanford nuclear reservation in southeast Washington state has two train tunnels full of very hot radioactive waste—and both tunnels are in danger of further collapse. That’s according to a new report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

About 90 minutes north of Stockholm lies an ancient defensive hillfort called Broborg. Northwest scientists are digging up and studying pieces of the ancient Swedish fort and trying to figure out how the structure has lasted around 2,000 years.

Over the weekend, workers at the Hanford nuclear site finished installing a thick plastic covering over train tunnel full of radioactive waste. The tunnel was found to have collapsed and opened up a hole nearly two weeks ago.

Workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation are starting to install a thick plastic covering over a tunnel that collapsed on May 9. That tunnel holds highly radioactive waste left over from the Cold War.

Federal contractors plan to install another level of containment over the tunnel that caved in at the Hanford nuclear site on May 9. The tunnel was used to store old, highly radioactive equipment from a facility that dates back to the Cold War.

One week ago workers found a tunnel filled with radioactive waste caved in at the Hanford nuclear site in southeast Washington. State officials and tribes are calling for quick cleanup action.

But how did we get here?

Washington state is taking legal action against the U.S. government after a tunnel full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday at the Hanford nuclear site.


Bill Radke talks with Anna King about the collapse of a train tunnel at the Hanford Nuclear reservation. King is a reporter for the Northwest News Network.

Tuesday morning an emergency response was triggered at the Hanford nuclear site when a hole was found in the roof of a buried tunnel nearby a mothballed plutonium processing plant. The tunnel, constructed in the haste of the Cold War, was about 360-feet-long and built out of timbers and concrete.

So what exactly is in that tunnel? 


Contractors are building a road to a collapsed train tunnel site at the Hanford nuclear reservation in southeast Washington state. Their goal is to keep any radioactive contamination from escaping the hole that was found Tuesday.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

The Department of Energy has declared an emergency at a nuclear-contaminated site in Washington state, after soil caved in over a portion of a tunnel containing rail cars contaminated with nuclear waste.

"All personnel in the immediate area have been accounted for — they are safe — and there is no evidence of a radiological release," Destry Henderson, spokesperson for the Hanford site's emergency operations center, said in a brief statement on Facebook.

The U.S. Department of Energy issued an emergency alert Tuesday morning at the Hanford site north of Richland, Washington, after a tunnel at a radioactive cleanup site caved in. Workers at a former chemical processing plant were evacuated and thousands more across Hanford were directed to take shelter indoors.

State and federal officials said all workers were accounted for, there were no injuries and no indication of “release” of radioactivity into the environment. By early afternoon, the employees taking shelter were given permission to go home except those needed for emergency response.

There’s a huge building with a massive pool of water at the Hanford nuclear site in southeast Washington state. The water glows an eerie neon blue from an effect known as the Cherenkov Glow. The light comes from the decay of the nearly 2,000 highly-radioactive cesium and strontium capsules held in the pool.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger Bill Bryant sparred in their last scheduled debate in Pasco Wednesday night over Inslee's record at Hanford and their stances on environmental regulations.

Hanford Workers' Skin Exposed To Radioactive Waste

Oct 19, 2016

At least 10 Hanford workers were exposed to radioactive waste Tuesday at the nuclear cleanup site’s tank farm in southeast Washington.

Workers were removing a connection line that’s used to transfer radioactive waste between tanks when the contamination was detected. A test found radioactive waste on the workers’ skin and clothing. The contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions, says the contamination was low.

Tom Carpenter, who heads the worker advocacy group, Hanford Challenge, disputed that characterization.

For decades, artifacts of life and work from the Manhattan Project and Cold War era at Hanford have been locked away. Now, these historical items are being trucked off the southeast Washington nuclear site and curated at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

A new federal bill was introduced Monday that would further protect whistleblowers at Hanford and other nuclear sites. The legislation was penned by thee Democratic senators: Oregon’s Ron Wyden, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said workers at Hanford tank farms who say radioactive waste is making them sick need to be heard.

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